I very much enjoy riding bikes, as anyone who reads my incoherent ravings surely knows, which is why I found myself putting on nearly every piece of warm cycling-related clothing I own last night despite the temperature. It was 42 degrees out, and dropping.
When I’m wearing my tight spandex cycling clothing, I refer to myself as the multicolored sausage, but the whole experience felt a bit more like a cycling burrito… from Hell!
There are many layers of hell, an idea which has its roots in religious thought, not least of which being Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. First, you need cold weather. This is the tortilla of our hellish burrito, in which all other ingredients will be wrapped, or, to use more biblical-sounding language, swaddled.
Next, our Cycling Burrito from Hell (henceforth CBFH) needs the meat, which in this case would be cycling. Like meat, cycling is pretty great no matter what. It can me super awesome, or underwhelming, but most of the time I’d rather have it than not. I spent the meat of my evening with my friends Chris and Jason, swearing and falling off my mountain bike as the swaddling temperature dipped toward freezing and below.
Unknown to me previously, the city is crisscrossed with an underground network of mountain bike trails. Seemingly every patch of woods in town, no matter how small, has a trail scratched into it. Some follow the city’s drainage ditches and have the unmistakable odor of sewage. Some are meant to be walking and jogging trails, and some had the telltale footprints of recent urban outdoorsman passage, but due to the recent never-ending torrents of rain we’ve had, they were all muddy.
I wrecked trying to ride through an exceptionally muddy section, falling over with my lower body in freezing muddy water and delivering a solid hit to a nearby tree with my shoulder. At times like that, I wonder to myself “Am I enjoying this?”.
I did not realize it at the time, but I was experiencing the second and third most important CBFH layers, pain and humility.
Anyone considering riding a mountain bike on the in-town trails in Atlanta should be shown a photo of me cold, muddy, and pissed. If they still want to ride, they should be cracked on the shoulder with a frying pan to simulate my wreck.
If they still want to go after all that, they should be dressed warmly, wished good luck, and sent on their way lest their dementia spread.
After a hearty sample of the Cycling Burrito from Hell they’re about to chow down on, they may think twice next time.